Dec 3, 2010

Missing the point on WikiLeaks

The WikiLeaks cables -- far more significant than anyone has acknowledged -- will change governments. But both the mainstream media and the federal government appear to be completely oblivious to the fact.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Anyone else got the feeling the local mainstream media coverage of the WikiLeaks cables has been a little, well, underdone?

Julian Assange’s mum has got about as much coverage as there’s been hard analysis of the significance of some of the revelations for Australian foreign policy — particularly those pertinent to our region, and most especially in regard to China and Korea, where we’ll be putting troops in harm’s way if things turn uglier.

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90 thoughts on “Missing the point on WikiLeaks

  1. Michael R James

    BK wrote:
    [The digitisation of information implicitly devalues it, makes it vastly, world-changingly easier to share.]

    It may be a bit bizoid but the more accurate term to use instead of “devalue” might be “de-monetize”. That is, it makes it difficult for corporates to get people to pay for it.

  2. shepherdmarilyn

    Dillard once again proved she is not fit for anything much. “Illegal”? How about her locking up of innocent kids outside the law and then trying to shove them off to Timor even when she knows that is actually and demonstrably illegal.

  3. Mark Heydon

    Gillard rails against the “illegal” actions of Assange and her and the A-G offer every assistance to foreign governments in his persecution. Yet all seem to jump to the defence of convicted drug smugglers sitting in Indonesian prisons.

    On the digression:
    There is another interesting parallel between the music industry and the diplomatic situation. The “value” in music is now more and more in live gigs, rather than recorded music. In diplomacy, if secrecy is paramount primacy will need to go to live rather than recorded means as well.

  4. klewso

    Fair crack!
    As some people say, they’re only just human – consider the bind the “Gnus Limited” herd finds itself in, after crusading so long and hard for our “right to know every embarrassing thing Labor does”, after discovering this responsibility in the debris of Howard being washed away? How would they look campaigning for Assange’s right to do the same thing, informing punters what the US government has been doing for years, especially when it involves what the “Rupublicans” were up to their “jatz crackers” in?

  5. Peter Phelps

    I look forward to the day when Wikileaks publishes material from Cuba, Venuzuela, Zimbabwe, North Korea and China.

  6. klewso

    Have they got that “material” – and don’t we expect that sort of thing from them anyway – doesn’t the USA stand for better?

  7. Gavin Moodie

    I agree with BK, ‘cept that his analogy with music’s shift from analogue to digital is not a digression but germane to the WikiLeaks point.

    Some Crikey posters to Rundle’s pieces on WikiLeaks suggested that WikiLeaks may be temporary cos governments will find a way of making it illegal and shutting it down. But that will be as unsuccessful as the music industry’s attempts to shut down music file sharing sites and make promoters of file sharing software liable for any illegal file sharing using their software.

    Furthermore, any attempt to shut down WikiLeaks will be as unsuccessful and ultimately pointless as the Rudd government’s mandatory universal internet filter, about which the government has thankfully gone very quiet.

    WikiLeaks is doing more for access to information than freedom of information legislation. However, it relies on someone with access to information leaking it to WikiLeaks. That is where governments should direct their attention if they want to keep their secrets secret.

  8. klewso

    As for Gillard and McClelland doing their “Julie Bishop and Phil Ruddock” impersonations – in “Ned Kelly Land” – do we still franchise out our foreign policy to the US, to write what to say we think? Who is advising her on this – and does their nurse know they’re “out”?

  9. John Marlowe

    Michael Moore could have a field day!

    Ain’t Gillard an obedient lacky for US ‘strategic’ interests!

    Has anyone noticed how very big ASIO’s cyber department has become and all its job ads!

    <a href=";.>new-counter-terrorism-centre-opens-amid-hundreds-of-aussie-threats

  10. crapocular

    I think the artist you are referring to might be David Bowie – see this article from The Independent in 1996 is about his decision to sell his back catalog long before the threat of zero cost internet distribution had materialized.

    More recently, this article from the Guardian this year (cached at google) looks at that decision with the wisdom of hindsight and quotes Bowie from 2002: “Bowie then went on to make one of the most perceptive observations anyone’s ever made about our networked world. Music, he said, “is going to become like running water or electricity”.’

    The fact these 2 articles could be found by 1 slightly motivated person so quickly for this little bit of chatter is in itself testament in itself to the enormity of the paradigm shift.

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